Beauty replaces blight in the Bronx

What if one extraordinary woman wanted to help revitalize an economically-ravaged urban neighborhood, provide truly attractive housing for its residents, and provide a model for environmental stewardship and health? Then that would be Nancy Biberman, president of WHEDCo (Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation), a nonprofit dedicated to bringing economic well-being to places where there is little.

Featured in the NY Times, Nancy’s group is developing Urban Horizons II and The Foyer, a $45 million 174-residence mixed-use complex of two new buildings for people with incomes of $28K-$39K a year, with one-bedrooms renting for $660/mo. including a computer with broadband internet.

It also happens to be a shining example of green building:
High-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems reduce fuel for heat and hot water by 85%, saving over $600,000 in utility costs per year, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 400 cars.
Building materials free of the volatile organic compounds that exacerbate respiratory illnesses.
– 100 properly planted trees, 1/2 acre of greenroofs

The challenge is that if such a beautiful place can be built in such blight using government subsidies for people on government subsidies, then the same can happen without those subsidies for the creative class/artists/entrepreneurs. Poverty isn’t debilitating for a city’s health until too much of it is concentrated in one place.

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